“Mature love nourishes; immature love can be lethal. Immature love leads us to love addiction.” – Brenda Schaeffer [1] 

Love addiction is a psychological and emotional condition characterized by an excessive and compulsive preoccupation with romantic relationships. Individuals with love addiction become emotionally dependent on the intense feelings associated with being in love, often leading to an unhealthy and dysfunctional cycle of seeking out and clinging to relationships. It can negatively impact self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being, requiring professional help and support to break free from this pattern.

What Is Love Addiction?

Love addiction, also known as relationship addiction or romantic addiction, is a psychological and emotional condition characterized by an excessive and compulsive preoccupation with romantic relationships. It is a behavioral pattern in which individuals become emotionally dependent on the intense feelings associated with being in love, often leading to an unhealthy and dysfunctional cycle of seeking out and clinging to relationships.


Love addicts typically exhibit obsessive thoughts and behaviors related to love and relationships, experiencing an intense fear of abandonment or being alone. They may constantly search for new partners, become emotionally involved too quickly, and have difficulty establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. (Gori et al., 2023) [2]


This addiction can negatively impact various aspects of an individual’s life, including self-esteem, personal relationships, and overall well-being. Love addicts often prioritize their romantic relationships over other essential areas of life, such as work or personal growth. (Fisher, 2014) [3] 

What Are The Causes Of Love Addiction?

Love addiction can have multiple underlying causes, and research suggests that it may arise from psychological, biological, and environmental factors. Some key factors contributing to love addiction include: [4]


What Are The Causes Of Love Addiction?


  • Childhood experiences: Traumatic experiences, such as neglect, abandonment, or inconsistent parental attachment, can contribute to love addiction. Individuals with love addiction often have unresolved issues related to early relationships, leading them to seek validation and fulfillment through romantic partners.
  • Co-occurring disorders: Love addiction may coexist with other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or personality disorders. These disorders can intensify the need for love and attachment, creating a reliance on romantic relationships for emotional stability.
  • Neurochemical factors: Love addiction involves complex neurochemical processes. Studies indicate that love and attachment activate brain regions associated with reward and pleasure, including the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. This neurochemical response can create a craving for the emotional highs associated with being in love.
  • Cultural and societal influences: Societal expectations and cultural norms around romantic love can also contribute to love addiction. Media portrayals of idealized relationships, societal pressure to be in a relationship, and the belief that romantic love can solve all problems can influence individuals to seek love as a primary source of happiness and fulfillment.

It’s important to note that these factors can vary among individuals, and the causes of love addiction can be complex and multifaceted. Professional evaluation and treatment can help individuals explore and address these underlying factors to overcome love addiction.

Effects Of Love Addiction

Love addiction can profoundly affect various aspects of an individual’s life. Some of the expected effects of love addiction include: [5] 


Effects Of Love Addiction


  • Emotional Distress: Love addicts often experience intense emotional highs and lows. They may become excessively dependent on their romantic partners for validation and self-worth, leading to emotional turmoil when the relationship is not fulfilling their needs.
  • Relationship Dysfunction: Love addiction can result in unhealthy relationship patterns. Individuals may engage in co-dependent behaviors, have difficulty setting boundaries, and repeatedly enter toxic or abusive relationships. This can lead to a cycle of unhealthy relationships and emotional pain.
  • Impaired Self-Esteem: Love addicts often derive their self-worth from external sources, mainly from being in a romantic relationship. As a result, their self-esteem can suffer when they are not in a relationship or if their partner’s affection wanes. This reliance on external validation can hinder personal growth and self-acceptance.
  • Neglected Areas Of Life: Love addiction may lead to ignoring other essential areas of life, such as career, hobbies, friendships, and personal goals. The obsession with love and relationships can consume time and energy, causing a lack of balance and fulfillment in other aspects of life.

Addressing love addiction through therapy, support groups, and self-reflection can help individuals regain control of their lives, develop healthier relationship patterns, and cultivate a stronger sense of self-worth and fulfillment.

Relationship Between Love Addiction And Limerence

Love addiction and limerence share some similarities but are distinct concepts. Limerence is an intense infatuation or obsessive attraction towards another person, often characterized by intrusive thoughts, fantasies, and a sincere desire for reciprocation. While love addiction involves a compulsive preoccupation with romantic relationships, limerence is a specific state of infatuation.


Research suggests that limerence can be a component of love addiction. Tennov (1999) found that individuals experiencing limerence often display addictive behaviors, such as a constant longing for the object of their affection and difficulty disengaging from the relationship. [6]


Additionally, limerence can reinforce love addiction by fueling the addictive cycle of seeking out intense romantic experiences.


However, it is essential to note that not all individuals with love addiction experience limerence, and vice versa. Love addiction encompasses a broader pattern of compulsive and unhealthy relationship behaviors beyond the state of limerence. Understanding the relationship between love addiction and limerence can help identify and address specific aspects of addictive behavior and infatuation in therapeutic interventions.

How To Overcome Love Addiction?

Overcoming love addiction requires self-awareness, self-care, and personal growth. Here are some strategies to help overcome love addiction: [7]


How To Overcome Love Addiction?


  • Seek Professional Help: Engage in therapy or counseling with a mental health professional specializing in addiction or relationship issues. They can help you explore the underlying causes of your love addiction, develop healthier coping strategies, and work through any unresolved emotional issues.
  • Join Support Groups: Connect with others who have experienced or are overcoming love addiction by joining support groups. Sharing experiences, receiving support, and learning from others’ journeys can benefit your recovery.
  • Focus On Self-Love And Self-Care: Shift the focus from seeking validation and fulfillment from others to cultivating self-love and self-care. Engage in activities that promote self-esteem, self-discovery, and personal growth. Practice self-compassion, set healthy boundaries, and prioritize your well-being.
  • Develop A Support Network: Surround yourself with supportive and understanding individuals who can offer encouragement and guidance. Build a network of friends and family who can provide emotional support during challenging times.
  • Create A Balanced Life: Cultivate a fulfilling life beyond romantic relationships. Pursue hobbies, interests, and goals that bring you joy and fulfillment. Focus on personal and professional growth, and create a sense of purpose and meaning in your life.

Remember, overcoming love addiction is a process that takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself, celebrate small victories, and stay committed to your journey of healing and growth.


Love addiction is a complex issue that can significantly impact individuals’ lives. It involves an unhealthy and compulsive obsession with romantic relationships, often rooted in unresolved emotional issues. Overcoming love addiction requires self-awareness, therapy, support networks, and a focus on self-love and personal growth. By addressing underlying causes, setting boundaries, and prioritizing overall well-being, individuals can break free from the destructive patterns of love addiction and cultivate healthier, more fulfilling relationships.


If you are struggling to figure out if it’s love or love addiction, you can connect with expert counselors or explore more content at United We Care! At United We Care, a team of wellness and mental health experts will guide you with the best methods for well-being.


[1] “Is It Love or Is It Addiction?,” Goodreads.

[2] A. Gori, S. Russo, and E. Topino, “Love Addiction, Adult Attachment Patterns and Self-Esteem: Testing for Mediation Using Path Analysis,” Journal of Personalized Medicine, vol. 13, no. 2, p. 247, Jan. 2023, doi: 10.3390/jpm13020247.

[3] H. E. Fisher, “The Tyranny of Love,” Behavioral Addictions, pp. 237–265, 2014, doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-407724-9.00010-0.

[4] “Is It Love or Addiction? Learn the Signs and Causes of ‘Love Addiction,’” Is It Love or Addiction? Learn the Signs and Causes of ’Love Addiction

[5] “What Is Love Addiction?,” Verywell Mind, Nov. 29, 2021.

[6] D. Tennov, Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love. Scarborough House, 1999. doi: 10.1604/9780812862867.

[7] B. D. Earp, O. A. Wudarczyk, B. Foddy, and J. Savulescu, “Addicted to Love: What Is Love Addiction and When Should It Be Treated?,” Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 77–92, 2017, doi: 10.1353/ppp.2017.0011.

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